Kodak Instamatic X-15 Camera

click here to go to the ebay auction for this painting

4"x6" oil on masonite panel I have often been asked how I do what I do, mainly by students. It's a vague question, but sometimes the queries are specific to my color and/or brush/knife work. Flummoxed, I may reply, "How does one teach insanity." (I know, I know, it's a cop out. But seriously, how do you teach it?) Not knowing what to say, I sometimes proffer this nugget: Stop asking your mother what she thinks of your art. While the artist usually thinks that their mother's response of "nice" is a trite critique of their creative genius and feels hurt that she doesn't take their art seriously, I view it as sheer and utter rudeness to the mother. Do not put the women, who unconditionally loves you—if you are lucky—on the spot like that. What the heck do you expect her to say? While you're looking for words like "deep understanding," "complex color work," or "contextual juxtaposition" she'll deflect with "nice." What do you expect? You've cornered a person who has no idea what you are trying to achieve and truly, truly does not want to hurt our feelings. Unless she teaches the subject or worked on the piece with you, don't ask. Instead, show some love and respect. Ask her about her day. Patiently listen to her complain about her uncooperative computer and for goodness' sake, please try to find a tactful and loving way to suggest she back off on the Diet Coke. This applies to all the creative fields by the way. If you are an art director and you ask your mother what she thinks of your ads, you should be flogged, too. Anyway... to sum up... Don't be rude to your mother!

Posted September 3, 2015

click here to go to the ebay auction for this painting

.38 Snubnose

4"x6" oil on masonite panel Many moons ago, in one of my previous lives in New York City, I stopped to talk to a sidewalk t-shirt vendor. I wasn't looking for a t-shirt, I just had a habit back then of stopping and talking to the sidewalk vendors. (Hey, in a city where you could encounter a guy on the sidewalk selling fine Italian silk ties for $2, the vendors usually had something interesting to say.) Anyway, the t-shirt guy had a shirt with a black and white image of a .38 pistol, like the one you see here, along with the elegantly typeset words: "New York City / STANDARD EQUIPMENT." Another shirt in the antagonistically proud series had an image of an 11 inch cockroach with: "New York City / ACTUAL SIZE." Now, that is civic pride! As indicated above, I do commissions. If you are interested, just contact me and we'll talk.

Posted September 1, 2015

sold•commission•private collection

Train Engineer Bear Toy

6"x4" oil on masonite panel There is a small, but quite vocal group that lambast me every time I present a painting of a toy. Apparently, they don't see the point in taking the time to paint a toy. Oh yeah, post post, the emails fly. (Actually, there is an "anti" group for just about every specific subject I paint and I appreciate every email.) To the "toy" group, whom I respect and care for with all my heart, all I can say is... Here's another one! Unlike many of the toys that exist in my small and ever annoying universe, this squishy and somewhat overweight little guy has made no attempt to hasten my demise. The squeaky noise he makes is a little annoying, but all in all, he seems to be a benevolent bear with no evil intentions. I don't trust him. On another note... The fabulous crossword puzzle writer Merl Reagle recently passed away. He was only 65. I am not a crossword puzzle fanatic, but I do appreciate a good one and he created good ones. My experiences with crosswords are similar to my experiences with my paintings—some flow beautifully and some just make me cuss and spit whilst battling my way through them. Mr. Reagle's puzzles were a unique balance of whimsy and challenge without being esoteric. He provided us with joy, not hair pulling. He was also—as far as I know—the only, or at least the first, crossword writer to make a living solely from his creations. He was that good and 65 is far too young. Rest in peace Mr. Reagle.


Posted August 26, 2015

Zenith H615Y Mid Century Radio

4"x6" oil on masonite panel  TThere are a few of these mid century Zeniths hiding in plain view in the Mother Unit's garage. Some of the old radios are pretty cool looking. But, as it is with most things, there are some that look so odd or downright ugly, that you wonder who on earth would have bought and displayed them in their home. Oh well, to each his own. I thought this one looked pretty cool, so I tested it out as a possibility for membership in a series of three Zenith radio paintings. By the way, the The Cityscape Show V over at the George Billis Gallery in Culver City is up for only a few more days (last day: August 22). I have three pieces in this show, so if you have not seen it, go and check it out while you can. (Particulars pasted in below.).
Posted August 19, 2015



The Cityscape Show V
July 18 - August 22, 2015
George Billis Gallery/LA
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com
Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00am - 5:00pm

Back Door at Burbank Pastry


16"x12" oil on canvas Sometimes the plainness of something really catches my eye. Or, at least, lodges itself into my ever-dwindling memory bank. This doorway had deviously lodged itself into my brain, but I could not—for the life of me—remember where I had seen it. This drove me nuts and, of course, I punished those unfortunate enough to be within a three block radius of me with my being driven nuts. How The Spousal Unit kept herself from driving a knitting needle into the side of my neck, I shall never know (probably didn't want to stain her nice yarn). Then, one day whilst sitting in the car waiting for Her in the alley outside the post office, I looked in the rear view mirror and... there it was! Not only had I found it, but the door was open with a dumpster inside—what luck! I almost cried with happiness. You didn't ask because you are so considerate and kind, but here is the answer to what you are thinking: Yes, I lead a pitiful existence.

Posted August 11, 2015

Ernie Jr's Taco House Sign

4"x6" oil on masonite panel  The current view of this sign is through a chain link fence. This restaurant is no more and I have no idea how long it is going to be before the entire place is bulldozed, so I thought I better hop to it and paint the thing. Not a very touching artistic story, but I'll take any prompt I can get, and imminent destruction is a pretty strong prompt.

Posted August 5, 2015

sold•private collection

Safari Inn

31"x20" oil on canvas As I develop (change, grow, travel down this ever-winding path—insert whatever verb or catchy phrase you like here) as an artist, I often find there are subjects I contemplate addressing again, if only to see how I would handle them now. Having the standard-issue frantic life with the accompanying limited memory capacity, I rarely follow through on these thoughts (wisps, inspirations, contemplations, whirlwinds of inspiration, nodules of creative thought clouds—again—insert whatever noun or phrase you like here). The above is one of those rare subjects. I just think it is such a cool sign AND I almost got killed shooting the plethora of scrap I needed to do it. ••• So, here it is again, embarrassed in globs of oil paint. ••• This painting is currently residing over at the George Billis Gallery/LA, along with two other of my paintings. Please go check them out if you find yourself within a reasonable distance from the gallery. I pasted the gallery's details below for your convenience and viewing pleasure.

George Billis Gallery/LA
July 18 - August 22, 2015
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / www.georgebillis.com
Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm

Posted July 28, 2015

The Black Star Apts

6"x4" oil on masonite panel As promised.... here's the last one! If you can, go to the opening night for The Cityscape Show this Saturday! I will be there along with three of my pieces. See details below

Posted July 16, 2015
 
sold • private collection los angeles, ca






•••••

The Cityscape Show V

July 18 - August 22, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 18, 5 - 8pm
George Billis Gallery/LA
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com
Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00am - 5:00pm

The Yellow Box Apts

6"x4" oil on masonite panel Yellow is a great color. It being such a weak hue and so easily picked on by the other colors on the palette, the challenges naturally draw me to it. Here is the second of the three apartment paintings up for auction. I will try to post the third on Thursday(ish). In other news... I will have three pieces in the George Billis Gallery's upcoming group show. The opening reception is this Saturday night and the show is called The Cityscape Show V. Details below.

Posted July 14, 2015
 
sold • private collection los angeles,ca
 



 
•••••

The Cityscape Show V

July 18 - August 22, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 18, 5 - 8pm
George Billis Gallery/LA
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com
Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00am - 5:00pm

The Aqua Apts

6"x4" oil on masonite panel I have often been asked if I painted smaller versions/studies of the six mid-century apartment buildings I painted a little while ago. The answer is no. I did however paint three studies of other apartment buildings I may or may not paint larger later on. (You may see all three together below.) Feel free to chime in on whether or not they qualify as possible larger pieces. I am on the fence right now (my usual location). Seeing as how Friday is our National Day of Non-Creativity, I thought I would put the three paintings up of auction one right after the other, 1-2-3, starting with the one I refer to as the "The Aqua Apts."

Posted July 10, 2015
 
sold • private collection front royal, va


 

Einstein, Albert

6"x4" oil on masonite panel This is developing into a bad habit. Whenever a picture of Mr. Einstein and I cross paths, I paint a painting of him. Oh well, I do have worse (much worse) habits, so I guess I can live with this one. Painting from black and white photographs is a great exercise. It brings on my full palette and, as long as I hold my values true, it usually holds together. If it doesn't, I will have ticked off a bunch of dead guys' ghosts. 

Posted July 7, 2015
 
sold • private collection washington, dc

Old Monrovia Gas Pump

15"x10" oil on masonite panel I have hesitated showing you this painting before, not because of the painting itself, but because of the photograph of the painting. You see, this piece was "professionally" photographed and I had not come to terms with that, until today. So here it is. Whenever I am lucky enough to discuss my paintings with the poor suffering photographer, we often disagree on the outcome, but we almost always find common ground on what it took to achieve that outcome. Our mutual whine isn't about the peaks and valleys of my carvings—they usually can be overcome with good lighting and the use of cross filtering and a subtle voodoo chant (or two). No, our communal angst is focused on my color work. There is always a sentence in our discussion that resembles this: "Man, I love your work, but your @#$%& colors drove me nuts!" To which I respond with a hearty, "Thank you!" ••• Color experimentation is integral to what I do. A result of this push-pull—especially clashing my warms and cools together against their will—is that some of my color mixing has become simplified. Sometimes a color that might have included 5 to 6 members on my palette, may now be made up of only 2 to 4. This usually increases the fight, making it harder to achieve whatever my addled brain is trying to achieve. The painting above may not be the best example of the following, but if you ever see me refer to "sweet" colors, simplified color mixing is often what I am talking about. The purer the color is from the tube, the sweeter it is. I guess sweet is my lazy term for intensity. Or, it could just be me thinking about cookies.

Posted June 30, 2015

Onion Sprouted

6"x4" oil on masonite panel For all of you who were wondering if I still painted these little 4"x6" paintings, the above is your answer. I know that I haven't been doing as many as I used to, but they are useful to me as an artist, so I still do them. And, continuing an age old, time honored artistic tradition, I stole this subject from the kitchen. Pilfering being a natural component of daily painting, how could I walk past this wonderfully bolting onion and not notice (lift) it? Composing paintings in your head (a.k.a. insanity) is another remnant curse and I could just envision this onion balancing the way you see it here. If it didn't cooperate? Well, some sort of nasty sticky stuff could have been employed to make it bend to my will. Happily, the onion chose to cooperate. 

Posted June 25, 2015

sold • private collection los angeles, ca

Little Toy Fireman

12"x8" oil on canvas panel As it is with most parental units, I view small toys, such as the one above, not as benign, cute little thingies, but as evil anti-barefoot terrorists hellbent on wreaking havoc on my nocturnal wanderings (usually to the fridge). Whilst this little guy doesn't have the sharp edges of say... a LEGO mini figure—the most nefarious evil doer in existence—he is just as dangerous, for he is not a lone gunman. This little guy is a member of a cell of four yellow jacketed terrorists, all belonging to the same engine company. Led by a grandmotherly figure with an axe in her belt, their strategy is to line up in the middle of the doorways leading to the kitchen. And they seem to always be in the doorway I choose, it's like they can read my mind (or my stomach). Freaky. Oh yeah, there is evil at work here.  

On an artistic note: I kind of sort a wonder what this little guy would look like as a five foot tall painting(?). The Spousal Unit is not too sure about it. But then again, she has to listen to my insane rants about evil toys plotting against me. My judgement may seem a bit cloudy to her.

Posted June 23, 2015

GE Clock Radio Red and Square(ish)

8"x12" oil on canvas panel With this post, I put this series to rest. I will not kid you or myself and commit to this being the last mid-century clock radio I will ever paint. Let's just say it is the last for a good, maybe long, while.



Posted June 18, 2015

sold • private collection irvine, ca

 
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